Freshman Nigel Hayes poured in a career high 19 points to lead the 4th ranked Wisconsin Badgers to a 76-49 win over the Northwestern Wildcats in their Big Ten opener in Evanston on Thursday night.
Hayes, the reigning Big Ten freshman of the Week, hit 8 of 12 shots from the field and pulled down 6 rebounds as the Badgers moved within one victory of matching the best start in program history (15-0 in 1911-12 and 1913-14).
Sophomore forward Sam Dekker had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists for the
Badgers. Their 27-point margin of victory is the largest in a Big Ten road opener in Wisconsin program history.
Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson added 10 points and Frank Kaminsky had 9 points and 8 rebounds for the Badgers.
The Wildcats hit just 3 of 17 three-pointers (17.6%) and 19 of 55 shots overall (34.5%).
The Badgers play their home opener on Sunday night against the #23 Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa is 12-2 and will have sophomore forward Jarrod Uthoff in uniform when the two teams hook up Sunday night. Uthoff transferred from Wisconsin after redshirting as a freshman. He’s averaging 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game for the Hawkeyes this season.